(429c) Biomass Fast Pyrolysis Using a Novel Reactor/Particle System

Authors: 
Biernacki, J. J., Tennessee Technological University
Templeton, C., Tennessee Technological University
Zolghadr, A., Tennessee Technological University

Biomass fast pyrolysis is emerging as a promising approach for the production of renewable chemical and fuel resources. The pyrolysis temperature, heating rate and solid- and gas-phase residence times have an important impact on the char, gas and oil yields. In this study a novel laboratory-scale fast pyrolysis technique is demonstrated using novel biomass microspheres and a unique single-particle micro-reactor technology. Biomass microspheres ranging in size between 100 and 400 mm were produced by spray drying crystalline cellulose, switchgrass (panicum virgatum L.) and tall fescue straw (festuca arundinacea).  The reactor is a 0.1 cm ID, 60 cm long fused quartz tube heated locally using a silicon carbide element. Single particles are reacted by injection into the heated furnace using an inert carrier gas.  The velocity of particle is measured using a pair of laser detectors. The particle enters the hot zone where it is trapped by a small piece of glass-ceramic gauze and the evolved gases are detected using a fast flame ionization detector (fast-FID).  The rate of hydrocarbon gas production is thus measured.  This study reports various characteristics of the reactor systems as well as an investigation on the production of gas and char at different temperatures for the fast pyrolysis of crystalline cellulose, switch grass and tall fescue. The biomass microspheres technology, provides a controlled geometry feedstock while the novel reactor enables the control of residence time factors. The effects of pyrolysis temperature (350 to 900 °C), and biomass particle size on the char yield and reaction dynamics are reported.